Handholding Tips? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Additional Camera Support Topics


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 15th, 2004, 02:29 PM   #1
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
Handholding Tips?

Someone's comments in another thread got me thinking about this. Could people share their tips and techniques for handholding camcorders? I'm often frustrated with the results from my VX2000 because, evidently, I'm just a shaky kind of person. What kinds of things do people do (aside from sticks, monopods, shoulder mounts and the like) to achieve stable handheld shots?
Paul Tauger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #2
Capt. Quirk
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Middle of the woods in Georgia
Posts: 3,596
I'm all for leaning against something solid in most situations. As long as there isn't too much movement, find something to lean against- it will help to steady your shots.
K. Forman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 312
This is some of the stuff I try to do to stabilize my shots (XM2)..
But, It usually depends on what kind of shot Iīm trying to use.

1. - Keep my elbow sticked to my body most of the time.

2.- When I use the viewfinder, my head works as support.

3.- When possible I lean my back to anything that can hold me.

4. - When not in specific use (focus, etc)... my left hand helps holding the front of the camera just below the lens, but then I got to balance the force of the two arms not to jiggle the shot.

5. -Depending on the shot.. y use the handle, it works beautifully, but is limited to a few kind of shots.

6. - When In need to walk, I just walk different... I probably look like a dork... but it helps a lot... Iīts like stealth mode.. I couldnīt explain in words.. but after a while my knees hurt.

7.- Before shooting I do some transcendental meditation, and ask the Gods to let my body become a tripod. To get a steadycam I need to sacrifice a small animal.
__________________
Messenger Boy : The Thessalonian you're fighting, he's the biggest man I've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him.
Achilles : That is why no one will remember your name.
Federico Dib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 03:42 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 389
Keith and Frederico made very good points. It is all about using your environment to your advantage, but here is a good way to look at it:
In order to make the shot steady, you have to make the camera steady. Normally this is done with a tripod. So you want to turn yourself into a tripod. This may sound dumb, but its how I do it. Think to yourself, "If I were a tripod, how would I hold the camera?"
The first step is to get a firm foundation. Basically, you only have two of the necessary three legs, so create the third. Leaning against a wall is a great way to accomplish this. For lower shots, kneel down with your knees apart, while sitting on your feet - each knee plus your feet equals three points of contact with the ground. If you're sitting down, brace your elbows on your knees and hold the camcorder to your eye. I'm sure you've got the idea by now, just remember to establish a "three legged" approach to your shots.
Another good stabilizing method is to pull your elbows into your chest like Frederico said. People have a natural tendancy to shoot with elbows out to the sides because its more comfortable. It also puts all the camera weight onto your elbows which tend to act like little spring hinges. By tucking them in, tight to your chest/body, you are using your entire body (much more rigid construction) to stabilize the shot.
__________________
Nicholi Brossia
Nicholi Brossia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 04:10 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: London UK
Posts: 51
Take a couple of relaxed deep breaths, exhale 30% and don't breathe, keep both eyes open, but look only through your right one, now squeeze gently but firmly.....

Hold on, that is for a different kind of shooting :-) :-)
__________________
ayosha
Ayosha Kononenko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 05:40 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
I like to hold cams with the bottom of the cam resting in the palm of my hand and the LCD facing up. (visual guide: karate chop yourself in the stomach and then put the camcorder in that hand, that's how I hold it)

I like it better because in that position, my arm acts naturally as a stabilizer and it's less fatiguing - especially if I'm doing a lot of standing. Plus I can get fairly stable pans with my waist, while my wrist makes smaller correcting adjustments. If I walk steadily, I can get some decent dolly in/out shots, once again with my wrist and elbow making smaller correcting adjustments. Or some very short crane up/down shots.

I also like to wear my backpack on my chest using the same method. I get a little more stability that way when I gently rest my hand on the backpack.

Actually, now that I think of it, the only time I hold cams the way they're designed to be held is when I'm testing them out in a store ...
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
I hold my XM2 with the right hand in the strap, but the left hand holding the barrel for focus and stability.

Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 06:44 PM   #8
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 7
for most bmx videos i find that when following something a fisheye lens makes the steadiness job alot easier, especially since you have to go fast enough to keep up with the rider.
Shaya Motamed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 07:03 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Posts: 745
Tai Chi, anyone?

I'm new to this, but I think it has a lot to do with where your focus is. If you're really paying attention to and are interested in your subject, your senses aren't so confused about what to do , where to go. Set your body up as you must, but don't think about YOU too much, stay with your subject, your body movement will follow....This means knowing your camcorder well, the controls, as well as the weight and dimensions. Once that stuff is internalized, your camcorder is more an extension of you, and it's not so weird or awkward. So carry the sucker around with you, in your hand, and shoot all manner of movement. Then playback, and make yourself noxious, you and you're body will want to correct and be as it needs to be. Although I've never flown a plane or a helicopter, I liken it to something akin to that, where you aren't paying attention to the controls themselves, you're engaged with where you're going. Forgive me if my sense of flying is way off, but that's where my imagination tends towards.
__________________
Breakthrough In Grey Room

Shawn Mielke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Posts: 745
Good thread, by the way.
__________________
Breakthrough In Grey Room

Shawn Mielke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 10:12 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
While stable handheld shots are your goal, using tripods is the only way to get a truly stable shot.
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 10:32 PM   #12
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Frequently I have to shoot out of a moving vehicle or hand-hold for long periods while sitting or standing.

If I can, the way I do it is to flip the LCD viewfinder (PD150) back against the body so I can see it. Then I hold the camera like a log sort of up against my chest with my arms squeezed inwards but not rigid. My left arm cradles the lens, the right, the butt of the camera.

That way I can hold the camera for a fairly long time because I don't have all that weight out in front of my body. When in a vehicle, I can slide my arms up and down and allow friction with my chest to dampen their motion while they counter the dips and bumps my butt follows as is sits in the vehicle.

If I need to operate the zoom in this position, I can put an L-bracket to good use by exending it to the rear of the camera and placing my StealthZoom on it.

The downside? The tendency to tilt the camera in or out which causes the image to, well, tilt. But once I do it for a few minutes, I get the hang of it fairly well.

The control is good enough that last year, when I needed to dolly along a school property for about a half-mile, I was able to kneel in the passenger seat of my van while it was driven steadily along the street. While it isn't as good as if I had laid down track and pushed a dolly along, it was more than acceptable.

Personally, I think the layout of these cameras is all wrong. Their long dimension should be vertical so we can hold them in close.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 10:42 PM   #13
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
I never hand-hold my cameras. Whenever they start whining about not knowing what to do I just slap 'em and tell them to act like adults.

Actually, we had a thread last year on this topic, and it's a good topic to feature.

I think that Shawn's "tai chi" remarks are right-on. Unlike the 15-20 lb shoulder brick crowd we're generally working with lightweight and low mass cams. Concentration on the goal rather than the mechanics are everything in creating steadier hand shots.

I generally hold my GL2 and DVX100 lower and closer to, and centered at, my midsection with the camera cradled in my palms (similar to Michael's method). I manipulate the main zoom rocker with my right thumb. On occasion I will hold the camera from the top handle. Holding the camera lower keeps it closer to my body's center of gravity (a more stable place), keeps good circulation in my arms (they stay below my heart), and applies more and better-coordinated muscle groups to the job. It also allows me to brace my elbows against my torso for better static handheld shots.

But I think it's far more important to find a method that seems reasonably comfortable to you and then practice as much as possible. Like any other physical task that requires dexterity you must train your nerves and muscles to do the job and then keep them in condition.

Which brings me to perhaps the point that I believe is most essential; get in reasonably good shape and stay that way. Aside from helping to maintain your general health and spirits, good physical condition is essential for stamina and coordination.
__________________
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time: www.KenTanaka.com
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
Do a search, all I use is the Mighty Wondercam Mini Rover. It's the best $50 you have ever spent.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2004, 11:08 PM   #15
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
OH, the other approach I use is to hire a younger cameraperson.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Additional Camera Support Topics

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:14 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network